In the UK, all employees require a right to work check, regardless of their nationality. The School must ensure that all those engaged to undertake work have their right to work established before they commence employment or a work assignment.

For employees who hold a time-limited visa, there is also a requirement to undertake a further check before their visa/document expires.

Who needs a right to work check?

A right to work check applies to all staff engaged by the School including but not limited to:

  • Permanent staff
  • Fixed term staff
  • Fractional staff
  • Casual staff
  • Volunteers
  • Student ambassadors
  • Invigilators
  • External Examiners

When to complete a right to work check

Right to work checks should be carried out at interview stage. This allows time for any issues arising from the check to be identified and action taken.

Where it is not possible to conduct a right to work check at interview stage, as a minimum, right to work checks should be carried out at least one day before employment starts. Where, in exceptional circumstances, the check can only be carried out on the first day of employment, the evidence of the right to work must be time and date stamped and must be carried out before the beginning of the employee’s working day.

The Home Office provides a list of documents that can be accepted as proof of right to work. These are set out in two distinct lists, List A and List B.

List A documents - permanent and unrestricted right to work (no repeated check needed), and includes:

  • British passport
  • Irish passport or passport card
  • EU/EEA national Settled status
  • Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) BRP or vignette
    Please contact the UKVI and Global Mobility Manager if a valid ILR vignette or stamp is in an expired passport.

List B documents - temporary/ restricted right to work (repeated checks required when visa/document expires), and includes:

  • Time limit UK visa ( Global Talent, Skilled Worker/Tier 2, Student/Tier 4, Tier 5, family visa, UK Ancestry).
  • EU/EEA nationals Pre-settled Status
    For EU/EEA/ Swiss nationals employed from 1 July 2021, we can no longer accept just a passport or ID card as evidence of their right to work. EU/EEA nationals would need to show they either have Settled or Pre-settled status or a UK visa to evidence their right to work.

A full list of the List A and List B documents can be found on the Home Office website

How to complete a right to work check?

The two main ways of checking an individual's right to work is either undertaking a manual check or using the Home Office online system.

Individuals employed from the 6th of April 2022 , who hold a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP), Biometric Residence Card (BRC) and Frontier Worker Permit can only evidence their right to work using the Home Office online system. We can no longer accept physical documents even if they are still valid. We must follow the online right to work process for these document holders.

Manual right to work check

This is the physical inspection of the right to work document before the holder in person or via video link.

Manual check should be used for individuals with:

  • British passport
  • Irish passport or passport card
  • Birth certificates
  • Visa vignettes in current passports
  • Certificate of British nationality
  • Positive Verification Notice (PVN’s)
You should follow the steps below when undertaking a manual check.

Step 1 - Obtain the original document

Step 2 - You must check that the documents are genuine and that the individual presenting themselves for work is the rightful holder. You must check:

  • visa is valid and permits the type of work in question
  • photographs and date of births are consistent and inline with the appearance of the holder.
  • the documents have not been tampered
  • the reasons for any difference in names can be explained by providing evidence (i.e. marriage certificate/civil partnership, deed poll)

Step 3 - You must make a clear copy of the document in a format that cannot be altered.

You must copy and retain copies of:

  1. Passport - copy of all pages with photo, expiry date, nationality, DOB, signature, visa, biometric details.
  2. All other documents - copy the documents in full, including both sides.

Write on the copy of the document the date on which you took the copy. Please note that you must sign and date the copies of the documents to certify that you have seen the original documents and enable HR to record the date each check has been carried out.

Step 4 - You should then forward the copies to HR together with the fractional or casual worker contract request in advance of any work being done.

Please speak with HR, if you have any concerns about the document you are checking or the validity of any permits, endorsements, or visa documents.

Online right to work check

Using the Home Office online system to verify the individuals right to work.

Online check should be used for individuals with:

  • A Biometric Residence Permit (BRP)
  • A Biometric Residence Card (BRC)
  • A Frontier Worker Permit
  • Status issued under the EU Settlement Scheme
  • EU/EEA and Swiss nationals who have been issued with an electronic immigration status.
  • A Graduate visa issued with an electronic immigration status.

Step 1 - Ask the individual for:

  • their date of birth
  • the type of visa or immigration status they have
  • a 'share code' which they can generate and provide or choose to send via the service.

With these details you would need to access the Home Office online system

Step 2 - in the presence of the individual (in person or via live video link), you must check that the photograph on the online right to work check is of the individual presenting themselves for work.

The check will provide any details of their work permissions, including start and end date of their visa, restrictions on hours of work or type of work allowed.

Step 3 - You must retain evidence of the online right to work check. This should include the profile page confirming the individual’s right to work. This is the page that includes the individual’s photo and date on which the check was conducted.

This can either be printed out or saved electronically.

Step 4 - You should then forward the profile page to HR before any work is done.

Repeated right to work checks

Where the individual holds a fixed-term visa (List B document holder), and you intend to continue employing them, you must secure a new right to work before their visa expires. If the individual has a pending application, you will be able to check their right to work using the Employer Checking Service to secure their right work during this period.

Employing Student/ Tier 4 visa holders

Staff engaging student/ tier 4 visa holders have a responsibility to ensure that they do not exceed the weekly hours allowed by their visa. Before employing a student/ tier 4 visa holder, please ask them to complete the Student/Tier 4 visa Declaration Form.

Student/ tier 4 visa holders are allowed to take limited employment in the UK, providing their conditions of entry to the UK allow this. Provided that expiry date of the student/tier 4 visa has not passed, a student on a student/tier 4 visa can work:

  • a maximum of 20 hours paid or unpaid work per week during term time for degree students;
  • a maximum of 10 hours paid or unpaid work per week during term time for students studying courses below degree level;
  • full time outside of term time only i.e. during vacations and following completion of your course

During term time, student/ tier 4 visa holders must not undertake paid or unpaid work which would bring their total hours to more than 10/20 per week across all the work being undertaken. This includes paid, casual work, volunteering, acting as a student ambassador/invigilator, and any other type of paid or unpaid work both for the School and elsewhere. Working hours are calculated on a weekly basis rather than a monthly average.

PhD students are required to book leave from their PhD studies, and have this confirmed by their supervisor, to take advantage of working full time. Their supervisor should write a letter confirming the student is on vacation (providing dates), and that they are not required to work on their thesis.

Other work restrictions for Student/Tier 4 visa holders

Student/tier 4 visa holders are not permitted to:

  • be self-employed
  • be employed as a professional sports person including as a sports coach
  • be employed as an entertainer
  • to take a permanent full-time job
  • work as a doctor or dentist in training, unless they are on the foundation programme

Further information

If an individual requires a visa to undertake the required work, the School may be able to sponsor the individual under the Skilled Worker visa route. Please contact the UKVI and Global Mobility Manager for further information or if you are concerned about the authenticity of an individual's documentation or have any questions about visas.